The PopCult Bookshelf
You might be wondering why it’s taken me two weeks into the new year to run down my favorite comics of 2015, and I have to admit, this has been a tricky post to write. My list of five favorite comics of 2015 is pretty much identical to my five favorite comics of 2014.
My picks for 2014 were Multiversity, Little Nemo: Return To Slumberland, All-New Silver Surfer, Weird Love, and The Charlton Arrow. This year all five title stayed among my favorites.I could have gotten away with simply re-posting my best of 2014 column, but that’d be too lazy, even for me. So here’s an expanded look at the comics I really enjoyed in 2015:
Collected editions are out, or soon will be, and it looks like Little Nemo will grace us with a new mini-series from the same creative team (Eric Shanower and Gabriel Rodriguez) soon.
Multiversity, Grant Morrison’s re-sorting of the DC Multiverse, seems to have had a lasting effect that paves the way for DC to back out of the creative miasma that is their current convoluted universe.
Marvel’s All-New Silver Surfer wrapped up its run and was then relaunched with a new writer, Dan Slott, but still kept its strong sense of fun.
Weird Love, from IDW and Yoe Books, continued to bring us reprints of some of the most twisted romance comics from years gone by. These are some of the bizarre comic books that you’ll ever use to rot your brain…in a good way. This is proof that, relationship-wise, our culture has been really, really screwed up for a very long time.
Weird Love will soon be joined by Haunted Love, which will combine romance and horror (something that we’ve all probably done at one time or another in our lives).
I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that Craig Yoe’s other two regularly-published titles, Popeye Classic Comics and Haunted Horror are always on the top of my “must-read” pile of comics. Weird Love is being collected in hardcover volumes that contain four issues at a pop.
In 2015 the Charlton Neo movement grew beyond The Charlton Arrow, with the addition of Pix-C webcomics and several new titles. Paul Kupperberg’s Secret Romances revived the Romance Comics genre with flair and vibrancy.
Charlton Wild Frontier did the same for Westerns. We were treated to two more issues of The Charlton Arrow, and print versions some of the great Pix-C webcomics in Unusual Suspense and Steve Ditko’s Weird Comics.
As I write this, the print version of Roger McKenzie’s Total Frenzy is headed to the printer. These are all great comics, created with a sense of fun and creative freedom that you simply won’t find in corporate-controlled comics. I’m probably looking forward to the new Charlton comics more than any other this year.You can be sure I’ll keep you up to date on all of their efforts.
Those are our returning top-five favorite comics, but that is not to say that there weren’t plenty of other great comics published last year.
The Creeps Magazine found itself bumped up to quarterly status and is still recreating the ambiance of the classic 1970s Warren Publishing magazines like Creepy and Eerie. It’s a magazine-sized horror/sci-fi anthology, and their fifth issue, sporting a cover painting by Warren original Ken Kelly, is available for pre-order now.
DC Comics proved that if you throw everything at the wall to see what sticks, sometimes something good will come of it. Omega Men and Dr. Fate were surprisingly good, solid comics. I also need to point out that Vertigo launched a ton of very promising new titles late in the year. I am behind on reading them, so you can look forward to my thoughts on those in the coming weeks.
Marvel had one of those confounding and incomprehensible universe-changing crossover “events” in Secret Wars, which held zero interest for me. However, late in the year they re-started Silver Surfer and launched a quirky revival of Jack Kirby’s Devil Dinosaur as “Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur,” which holds a lot of promise.
Marvel is also approaching the point in their reprinting of Miracleman where Neil Gaiman and Mark Buckingham will have to produce new stories to finish what they started 25 years ago.That’s a hell of a long time to wait for the conclusion of the story.
Marvel also relaunched Star Wars comics to great success. I have no sense of urgency to read these anytime soon, but I hear that most of them are very well-done.
As to what else struck me as great in 2015, Love and Rockets by Los Bros Hernandez is always top-flight. Batman ’66 was a fun read, right up to the end. SpongeBob Comics continues to be one of the most solid old-school fun comic books on the market.
Adventure Time is a worthy expansion of the excellent cartoon series. The Walking Dead and Astro City maintain their high level of quality storytelling. Matt Wagner’s take on The Spirit is terrific.
I’m sure I’m forgetting several, but this column runs every week, so I’ll catch up all year long. For now, those are my top comics for 2015. Feel free to share your picks in the comments.